Goodbye Dark Skies, The Only Good Weather App

Goodbye Dark Skies, The Only Good Weather App
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The new year is a few days away and I’ve already been disappointed dozens of times: each time my muscle memory pulled my phone out of my pocket and brought my thumb to where Dark Sky was. My weather app is dead, bought and killed by Apple and I’m drifting. Don’t laugh at me and think I’m being overly dramatic about it. It can start raining at any moment and I would have no idea.

If you don’t know what Dark Sky is, don’t read on to find out what you’re missing. If you know what Dark Sky is, you’ve loved and missed it, and you’re still dying to find replacement apps that can do what Dark Sky does: offer hyperlocal, hyper-short-term forecasts in a nice, painless package. You would open the app and it would tell you that it would start raining in 17 minutes. Not 16 minutes, not 18 minutes, 17. He was telling you how hard it would rain and when it would stop. It has become an integral part of the going out routine. Do you know the buttons/phone/wallet keys? I added “Check out Dark Sky” on top of that. Now I can leave the house anytime.

We enjoyed a decade of Dark Sky, which began as a Kickstarter project before releasing the app in 2012. But the writing has been on the wall since 2020, when Apple struggled to develop a good or popular weather app on its own. , bought. It wasn’t until this past summer’s death date was announced, and at the stroke of midnight New Year’s on the East Coast (trust me, I checked, then checked several times just in case) that the iOS app went dark. The characteristics of the Dark Sky were assumed “Integrated” into Apple’s local weather app, but I’ve spent the last few months trying to train myself to use Apple Weather, and I still think it sucks mondo butt. Nothing about this app is intuitive or pretty; everything in it is harder to find and read.

A funny thing to note here is that Dark Sky’s big selling point wasn’t that good, according to current meteorologists; the science behind minute-to-minute precipitation forecasting was fairly unscientific. What he did was, simply put, look at and calculate the rain spots on the radar map and how fast they were moving. how long will it take for those blobs to move to where you are.

“Processing images” Andrew Blum told Slate. “[A]All he did was take the radar’s visual input and extrapolate what was going to happen over the next few hours.

Of course, meteorology is more complicated than that—it is almost unfathomably and literally incalculably complex, so intelligent, highly educated and trained professionals using top-of-the-line hardware and software still struggle to accurately predict weather conditions more than a few days out. For a changing, complex storm, even in its direct path, Dark Sky’s “it’s been here, so it’s going to be there” engine was a well-marketed guess.

Still, Dark Sky was more right than wrong, and right enough to be useful. But what set the app apart from its peers, and no other app on the market right now could match it, was its recognition of the importance of design. It was a pleasure to look at and a pleasure to use. A minimalistic display and an aesthetic I’d describe as almost organic: graphics showing rain flickered, splattered, dripped to a radar map presented in soothing shades of blue. And everything you needed was right there, either on the first screen or with a tap. It felt like it was made for normal people who didn’t want to learn all the UI intricacies to know what coat to wear.

Example: I want to know what happened dew point will it be 1pm on saturday? In Dark Sky, you could scroll down, tap once, and that was the dew point of every hour of the next 10 days. In Apple Weather, it goes: swipe, tap, tap the drop-down menu, tap, then tap and hold — and all you get is the dew point at a given time. No one should have to live like this.

Ah, but there’s no use crying over spilled millibars. So what should we Dark Sky addicts do for our fix? I’ve tried several alternatives and none quite hit the spot. AccuWeather is impersonal and overly complex. Weather Underground was good until it was bought by IBM and went downhill. WeatherBug is useful but flawed. The root is an insufferable tweet. Apple Weather – well, it’s a lot of things, but it will never be Dark Sky. It seems like all we can do for now is lament Silicon Valley’s habit of taking good things and making them worse, mourn what we’ve lost, and celebrate the time we had together. Next time I’m caught in the rain, I’ll think of Dark Skies and the possible dryness.

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